Monday, April 30, 2012

TSA Pre✓™ comes to United in ORD and EWR to Pre-Check You Out

The TSA has been experimenting with a new system called the TSA Pre✓, which allows trusted travelers to skip some of the annoyances of the TSA security process. Until now, the program had been limited to frequent flyers on Alaska Airline, Delta, and American Airlines, but the program will soon be expanding to travelers on United flying out of Chicago O'Hare (ORD) and Newark Liberty International (EWR).

Currently, the system is opt-in and limited to travelers who are frequent travelers or already members of a pre-screening travel program, such as NEXUS, Global Entry, or SENTRI. Once enrolled and screened, you gain access to a faster line where your shoes can remain on, your laptop can remain in the case, and you can keep your belt on while moving through security.

If you're interested in signing up, there's more information available on the TSA website or you if you are flying United, you can always try to sign up with the link that they sent me. Signing up does not guarentee acceptance into the program.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Walking in LA: Eating in Echo Park and Silver Lake

My favorite part of LA is, without a doubt the area between Los Feliz and Echo Park. Los Feliz and Silver Lake are both very nice neighborhoods and Echo Park has recently become a trendy place to be. For me, Echo Park has always been home as long as I can remember (The Pioneer Market? I remember playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles there as a kid). Being back was a great chance to take a walk around the neighborhood and check out what's changed.

Of course, I love restaurants and things have changed quite a bit there. The area at Sunset and Hyperion in particular is now full of interesting places to eat and check out. Intelligentsia is now in the area serving up great coffee that often attracts a line and new restaurants link Berlin Currywurst and Forage are popping up next to traditional places like Millie's Cafe and Madame Matisse. In this post, we'll visit a couple neighborhood places and check out a very cool urban intervention when I put my planner hat on.

Want to find out where to get this?

Or this?
Or see this?

If so, keep reading after the break! We'll check all of these places out.

Landing Sideways in a Windstorm: Bilbao, Spain

That's some seriously piloting. It's amazing to see planes landing sideways on a runway. I'm glad that I haven't been in a storm quite that bad, although my landing in Istanbul awhile back was pretty bumpy.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Flying to LA: Which airport to choose?

Everyone knows about LAX. It's the main international airport in the Los Angeles area and the safe bet for getting to LA. However, LAX isn't the only airport in LA and making smart choices about which airport you fly to can make your trip to Los Angeles easier.

What other airports are there?
In the Los Angeles area, there are five airports. Burbank (BUR), Long Beach (LGB), Ontario (ONT), and Orange County (SNA). Each of these has regular service on major carriers and in many cases can put you closer to where you need to be at about the same cost. Sometimes other airports like Long Beach are actually less expensive than LAX.

Where are they?
All of the airports are spaced through the area. Burbank is in the San Fernando valley (in the valley), just north of downtown LA. Long Beach to the south of downtown LA and is one of the closest airports to Disneyland. Orange County is closer still to Disneyland (the airport of choice for this destination) and farther still from downtown LA. Ontario to the east of downtown LA. You can see a map with all of them here.

Which one do I choose?
Where to go depends on where you need to go, the price of tickets, and how you plan to get around.  The LA/Ontario airport has a great little tool to help make that decision if you are driving. Just type in your address, and you can see driving time to all of the airports side-by-side. Metro also has a simplified map that shows what buses run to and from the airports to different destinations in LA. After the break, we'll have a quick overview of my take on the pros and cons of each of the airports.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Flight Report: Let's go to LA!

Last week I went to LA to attend a conference. By training and trade, I am an urban planner and the American Planning Association held the national conference in Los Angeles this year. That's great for me because getting there is a whole lot less expensive than anywhere else and I have some friends there that I stayed with. For the next week or two, I'll be unpacking my trip down there on the blog and talking about how much LA has changed and where it's headed as a city but to start we have a flight report on United down to Burbank via San San Francisco.

Today's plane is a 757-200 that was swapped out for a smaller airbus. I had the window seat and this ended up being a great flight to snap photos of San Francisco while we were on approach. I prefer seats in economy that are just ahead of the wing or behind it (which is why you almost always see either an engine or the trailing edge of a wing in my pictures). No complementary upgrades because of my status today, but since the merger with Continental I don't think that that is realistic any more.

It was pretty cloudy and overcast along the way, so nothing spectacular out of the window until we were almost to SFO. We had an approach headed south just off the coast and from my window you could seethe Golden Gate Bridge perfectly along with the city itself.

Flying over a city is always interesting because you can see the logic and planning that went into it. It's never exactly the same, but patterns put in place by people always stand in contrast to patterns that come from nature. In this case, we have the classic grid across the western end of San Francisco both in the picture above and below. Even from a distance, it's easy to read and easy to understand. There are different types of neighborhoods that we can distinguish from a distance. These, with tight grids and small houses, are dense urban residential and small commercial areas. In cities, twisty roads usually show us where the serious hills are (Alternatively, a significant cluster of short, dead-end roads also is a good clue that people had a tough time getting around and is usually linked to hills).

After the break, we have some great shots of San Francisco Airport and Planes coming and going, as well as a comparison with Burbank, the little known (but better) airport gateway to Los Angeles.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge at IST Remodeled

When I visited Istanbul the first time, I was really impressed with their lounge. Overall, it was the most impressive and airy lounge I've been to yet, but apparently Turkish Airlines didn't think it was enough. They hired the design firm Autoban to completly renovate the lounge and just seeing this makes me want to go back for another round of baklava and everything else that is Istanbul.

From Autoban:
Turkey's national flag carrier airline, Turkish Airlines' new CIP lounge has been opened in Istanbul Ataturk Airport International Departures. Designed by Autoban's architectural standpoint, the lounge is spread over 3000m2, with a daily capacity of 2000 people.
Taking into account the primary purpose of the space - to transmit "contemporary Turkey experience" to Turkish Airlines passengers - the design concept is based on the idea of a second shell within the existing shell of the airport hall. Main structure, established by making use of a combination of global forms. These plain spheres create interior combinations by dividing the place into sections that allow transitions between them.
CIP Lounge's each module undertakes a different function. Services like resting rooms, restaurant, tea garden, library, Movie Theater and so on provide passengers a chance to experience each and every different interior. Spatial organization, that gives the sense of discovering while advancing in the lounges; is the natural outcome of the desired architectural layer that place "experience" forward.
Black channels, located in the merging points of modules, are designed to allow mechanical and electrical systems. These channels are among the vital details that bring visual balance to modules which are produced in accordance with the understanding of industrial design.
 More after the break!

[via Contemporist]

Friday, April 20, 2012

Recovering a Blog Post on Blogspot

In celebration of recovering my post on Tomsk, here are some photos from the street market in Tomsk, which is in the middle of Siberia.

This is really just a PSA on how to quickly recover a blog post on blogger if you accidentally delete a post. I recently lost my post on Tomsk due to a bug in the blogger editor revolving around the undo command, and while I had a backup I was hoping their was an easier way. Thankfully, there is!

1. Take the title of your post.
2. Enter the title in Google.
3. Mouse over the arrow beside the search entry for your post and access the cached version by clicking, "cached" on the right side of the scree.
4. Open up the source code (ctrl+u), and copy your post out of the body of the code.
5. Paste it back into the editor here and update the post.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Found: Snuff is missing in Stockholm

Translated from above...

Snuff has been missing since Wednesday, August 31st.

He started the evening together with a friend, Rolf, at the Green Hunter. They drank quite a number of shots. Rolf got very wasted and started to get a little out of control. Among other things, he grabbed a woman's breast. All of this is according to other guests. Snuff left Rolf there and took a taxi to the central city. During the entire ride he loudly sang Danny Saucedo's song "In the Club". The taxi driver felt that the situation was festive, but also intimidating. At 11:55pm he was dropped off at Stureplan. All this according to Taxi Kurir. Shortly afterwords he was seen together with a powerfully built man with a Yugoslavian appearance in the bar at Scandic Anglais. They laughed loudly several times. All this according to the bar employees. At 1:46am Snuff called me. I got the feeling that he was happy but at the same time scared. I heard screeching tires in the background. Afterward the call was disconnected. Since then I haven't heard or seen Snuff. His mobile phone is turned off.

Last Friday was the start of the quarter for gymnastics. I had hoped that he would have turned up then. He loves gymnastics. Rhythmic gymnastics. But unfortunately he didn't come.
Snuff is social and very talkative. Except that he suffers from mythomania, that is he is a compulsive liar. He is absolute no threat to other people. At the time that he disappeared Snuff didn't have any clothes on.

If you've seen Snuff, talked with him, know the powerfully built Yugoslavian, or have any other clues please contact me at or contact the the police.

All tips are of interest! Reward!

Monday, April 02, 2012

UW Cherry Blossoms 2012

This weekend I went up to the University of Washington to visit the quad and take in the cherry trees there. Every campus has a particular place that is special to all its students, faculty, and alumni and this is definitely it for the UW. The yoshino cherry trees there were a senior gift to the university from the class of 1959 and have been part of the school since they were planted in 1964. Every year they bloom around spring break and signal that summer is almost here.

 After the break much more from this year's cherry blossoms!